Every day, we are bombarded with products and services, but the ones that stick in our minds are those that draw on our emotions. Our buying decisions go beyond the actual product or service, and fall on the feelings of the brand itself. These decisions are based on emotion, and that emotion comes from our subconscious level – a stored emotion from what we have seen earlier.

Simply put, emotional marketing is the ability to communicate a powerful message through the use of different emotional techniques. This style of marketing is exhibited through words and visual images, and serves as an important tool to connect you with your audience, drive your brand perception and ignite purchasing intent.

Emotional Marketing in Action

As a testament to the power of emotional marketing, consider Hyundai’s ambitious Super Bowl 2017 commercial. The automaker filmed the commercial as the Super Bowl was taking place, airing the spot right after the big game. The commercial depicted three U.S. soldiers stationed overseas who were put into an immersive VR experience so they could watch the Super Bowl with their loved ones back home. Afterward, a video tech company did a national survey with a group of 1,500 people, using an Empathy Quotient (EQ) Score. Hyundai’s commercial came out with a 6.1 out of 10, beating Coca-Cola’s “It’s Beautiful” commercial. Hyundai’s brand took a jump forward due to the emotion that the commercial presented.

How Can Law Firms Use Emotional Marketing?

To help law firms consider how they might incorporate emotion into their own marketing efforts, here are a few guidelines to consider.

Develop a brand that captures who you are. In today’s competitive market, your brand will get nowhere when you say you are a “full-service” firm. Your brand has to inform your audience about who you are and how you are different. Presenting your brand with a certain level of emotion will allow people to remember and connect with you and your firm on a more personal and emotional level. Using a phrase like “Success Matters” does not differentiate you from any other law firm, but a phrase like “One Firm Worldwide” (used by Jones Day) says a lot in just a few words.  

Create a strong brand message. This comes about as part of a deep dive into who you are during a discovery process for your law firm. This is an assessment of your brand, your core competencies, your key differentiators, your internal culture and client perceptions. This information is used to develop your brand and a messaging strategy for your law firm that resonates both internally and externally.

Include a visual message. For years, since the start of law firm advertising, the tried-and-true images for law firms consisted of the scales of justice or courthouse steps. These images may directly relate to the legal industry, but they say nothing about your law firm. In today’s challenging market, visual messaging has the power to set you apart or draw attention to your firm. Cheap stock images are abundant, but you don’t have to settle for some boring, cookie-cutter image. Search outside the box for images that have a dramatic effect or a unique camera angle and capture attention while relating to your brand message.

Even better, if your budget allows, hire a professional photographer to take custom photos. Give them guidance on your image goals and insight on your brand message.

Don’t forget that your logo also has to convey your message. If your messaging says you are strong, does your logo convey that as well? If not, the fix might be a simple font change, or it might require a whole rebranding effort.

Give your content an emotional boost. Your content should draw the reader in. Reading about your firm should be more than a basic rundown of your firm’s history. It should tell your story, explain what draws attorneys to work at your firm, describe why clients rely on your firm to tackle their legal needs, etc. When you use storytelling as part of your content messaging, the reader will have a higher retention rate for who you are and how you can help them. Your brand messaging should tie into this as part of a cohesive brand effort.

How Does Your Brand Stack Up?

Doing a competitive analysis of your firm against law firms of similar size or service offerings can give you some valuable insight. It will tell you where you rank in the list. Are you at the bottom or at the top? Were you at the top a year ago, but now have slipped down? Knowing who your competition is and what their brand stands for can help you move forward with your own brand message. Legal marketing is changing, and firms need to adapt to that change to succeed. Using emotion in your marketing efforts will improve your firm’s visibility and retention in the minds of the people and businesses you are trying to attract.

Have you evaluated the EQ in your brand messaging? Reach out to me, Alan E. Singles, at asingles@jaffepr.com to discuss how emotion fits into your law firm’s brand message.